NAUGATUCK — For the first time since its inception, the sixth annual Ion Bank St. Patrick’s Day Road Race will be the only game in town on race day.
Every year for the past five, the race, a fundraiser for the Naugatuck Education Foundation, has conflicted with the Ordinary Joe’s Shamrock Shuffle in Watertown. This year, however, the races will be on different days — the Watertown race will be on Saturday, March 12 and the Naugatuck race will be the following Saturday, March 19 — so Naugatuck race organizers are hoping for an even larger turnout this year.
“This event is tremendous,” said James Goggin, Naugatuck’s tax collector and the race co-organizer with Board of Education member David Heller. “The NEF is a worthy organization and Ion Bank has helped us take this to another level.”
The race, which will be held in downtown Naugatuck, is the largest fundraiser for the nonprofit NEF. It usually generates between $10,000 and $20,000 for the NEF, which supports public schools. Money generated by the organization goes to educators to support educational activities that are not covered in the school system’s annual operating budget.
Last year, about 500 runners participated in the 5K and 10K; there were 700 the year before when weather was better. This year’s 5K and 10K will kick off at 9 a.m., which is also when the 5K Fun Walk will be held. At 10 a.m., a Kids’ Fun Run will be held for children ages 12 and younger.
Start and finish is near the fire department headquarters on Old Firehouse Road.
The entry fees are: $25 by Feb. 15; $30 between then and March 14; $35 on race day; $20 for walkers; $15 for Naugatuck students and $5 for the fun run. Strollers and baby joggers will not be permitted on the course for safety reasons.
Race packets can be picked up on March 18 at the Ion Bank Community Room, 583 Church St., between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Race day registration is between 7:30 and 8:45 a.m.
Goggin says there were be at least 500 runners this year. He said there will be a St. Patrick’s Day theme, as usual, with a corned beef sandwich and beer or soda for each runner. Cook’s Cafe will provide the beverages, while Jesse Camille’s Restaurant will provide the corned beef; both are Naugatuck businesses. Rosenblatt’s Department Store on Maple Street is making the race T-shirts and Ion Bank, headquartered in Naugatuck, is the sponsor.
“Everything is done locally, and the community gives us so much support,” Goggin said.
NEF President Andrew Bottinick said Goggin and Heller have done a great job to make the event successful.
“It’s a nice time, a fun event to bring people to downtown Naugatuck,” Bottinick said. “The running community is great; they really help out with these fundraisers, and the community as a whole is really good at supporting these kind of events.”
For information or to register, visit www.naugatuckroadrace.org.